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Travel log

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by LARon, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Thanks, VR. I've been dancing Argentine tango (not ballroom or international)for about 9 years now. Are you a fellow dancer?

    The exhibit tuns through March 27.
     
  2. von Rothbart

    von Rothbart Senior member

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    Thanks, VR. I've been dancing Argentine tango (not ballroom or international)for about 9 years now. Are you a fellow dancer?

    The exhibit tuns through March 27.


    Nah. One of my lady friends is an ardent ballroom dancer and I went to some of her exhibition performances.

    I must have missed the van Gogh exhibit. Which museum is that?

    The church you mentioned, it must be the St. Stephen Basilica:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Yes, it was St. Stephens (thanks for supplying the name). The museum is the Museum of Fine Art, up on the circle/square of heros. Isn't that shot amazing -- the building directly opposite from the bridge is Gresham Palace, home of the Four Seasons, and behind it is St. Stephens.
     
  4. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    A trip to Budapest may well be worth it just to see Gresham Palace, home of the Four Seasons. It is indescribably beautiful. I know it doesn't make sense to travel a long distance just for a hotel, but this isn't an ordinary hotel. Its a former palace that was reclaimed and renovated by a British private equity firm and is now so palatial -- and sits right at the mouth of the Chain Bridge (see VR's picture above) -- that it has to be seen to be believed.

    Its time to pack. If after getting that together and enjoying my final legal Cuban cigar I still have energy, I just might drift out into the night for a final walkabout. (Who knows who or what I might run into.)

    Now my excitement is directed toward the CSE. Look out New York, here I come.

    Goodnight from Budapest.
     
  5. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    While standing in line here at the Budapest airport I realize that I haven't commented upon the subject of style in quite some time, and for good reason: except on a few online fora, it scarcely seems to exist.

    The people here at the airport, and most of the people I've seen here in Budapest, dress like revelers in a mosh pit. The same was true in Amsterdam. Don't recall much elegance in Prague either, though I was so charmed by the place that I stopped noticing the people.

    I will say that the most elegant people I have seen on this trip were in Prague; an elderly couple -- very well turned out, and could have fit in in any city, in any era.

    I must seem a complete oddity to some/most: gray chalkstripe flannel SB suit, white shirt and navy polka dot tie, and a set of matching luggage (French's herringbone pattern), including large foldover suit bag, duffel and cluding a shoe case, where everyone here appears to have grabbed whatever was in the attic (or basement), or borrowed from someone else. Most people with more than one bag have bastardized sets, an amalgam of plastic, nylon and pleather.

    Hate to be snobby or self righteous but I prefer an orderly existence, and the randomness of modern life (and dress) just underwhelms me. That's why its good to know there are others of like mind -- and I look forward to meeting some of them at CSE.
     
  6. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Its a good thing the Sartorialist is photo-documenting instances of the elegant and well dressed, for I fear that in a generation those photos will be all that's left to reflect what it well dressed once meant. Even people who should know better seem now not to give a shit, and have surrendered to the mosh pit.

    I'm sitting next to an elderly woman whose wearing a nice pair of charcoal pinstripe pants -- a classic look, and certainly appropriate to her age and era -- but that she pairs with a ratty looking grayish-green sweater thing and brown uggh boots.

    I've noticed people noticing me throughout my travels and can't figure if their more intrigued by the fact that I'm organized or that I'm an organized American, being that we're known as the nation of jeans and t-shirts (which the mosh pit revelers seem to prefer).
     
  7. von Rothbart

    von Rothbart Senior member

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    This is good read. I guess you're now in Manhattan attending CSE which I am too swarmed to attend. I'd love to read your CSE report.

    The Four Seasons/Gresham Palace is so beautiful it makes me sick; literally, I almost lost control of my bodily functions as I stood there in the lobby envying the bastards rich enough to surround themselves with such luxury. It was not at all surprising to find La Perla and Brioni boutiques on the ground level, because after all everybody knows that well dressed men love women in fancy lingerie.

    I just checked the Four Seasons site, the Gresham Palace is currently having a special winter rate of starting $200/night before tax. You can't even book a room at Quality Inn in London or Manhattan at that price.
     
  8. dkzzzz

    dkzzzz Senior member

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    Did you mean Hungarians were from outer space or the empire extended to other planets in the solar system? Sorry, pal, I can't resist.[​IMG]

    I really enjoyed strolling along the broad boulevards and the quiet side streets. Budapest is full of grand old elegant buildings desperately in need of restoration. Even if they're in disrepair, somehow I still found them charming, their decay poetic. You should check out the Gresham Palace Four Seasons Hotel, a grand Imperial building spectacularly restored.

    Looking forward to your next report.


    You like poetic decay? Visit Habana, Cuba. It is the closest thing to a time travel. Graham Green Habana in 21 Century.
     
  9. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Just cleared customs at JFK (the line for Americans was longer, and took longer, than the line for visitors). No one was at all happy about that. Of the 20 customs windows for checking passports, fewer than half were even staffed.

    Having finally passed through, I go to retrieve my luggage, and because we all had to wait so long to get through passport control, everything had been delivered and was just sitting around, haphazard and unattended, waiting to be claimed. Upn garabbing my three bags I went to get a cart, as I had at every other airport I passed through on this trip. Only difference -- unlike anywhere else in the world, here it costs money.

    Then you have to fight your way through a gantlet of gypsy cabbies all clamoring for a fare. Felt like arriving I'm New Dehli rather than New York.

    Welcome home[​IMG]
     
  10. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    I just checked the Four Seasons site, the Gresham Palace is currently having a special winter rate of starting $200/night before tax.

    Based on this news, and the homecoming reception I just received (see above), I have half a mind to turn around and go back, just to get that deal. I would definitely encourage anyone with interest in Budapest to take advantage of that. I'd share the cost just to vicariously live the experience.
     
  11. soileauj

    soileauj Senior member

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    Hey Ron welcome to NY. It's all about the money here. I hope you have a good stay. How long will you be in the city?
     
  12. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Here's a bit of irony: the umbrella that I lugged from LA to Dublin to Amsterdam to Prague and Budapest had to be checked in as baggage at Heathrow. I've not seen it since. (I paid 10 dollars for it last Thanksgiving to a street vendor here in NYC.)
     
  13. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Hey Ron welcome to NY. It's all about the money here. I hope you have a good stay. How long will you be in the city?

    Thanks soileauj! I'll be here just long enough to hit the EG trunk show and CSE. My flight out (to LA) is at 7 p.m. Hope to meet you.
     
  14. vaclava krishna

    vaclava krishna Senior member

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    J
    Then you have to fight your way through a gantlet of gypsy cabbies all clamoring for a fare. Felt like arriving I'm New Dehli rather than New York.


    I have not met, many "gypsy" cabbie, in NY. Are you certain, your plane, was the right 1?
     
  15. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Back on American soil, with Europe in the rear view mirror, here are a few closing thoughts about my trip.

    First, Prague was a revelation. I put it in the same class with San Francisco and Florence; smaller cities with as much (if not more) charm and elegance than the megaloplises to which they're often compared. You can get by quite easily speaking only English, and the food and entertainment are excellent.

    Something I found very cool is the striking juxtaposition of all these old, medieval sructures and 16th century buildings being outfitted with the latest high tech gadgetry.

    If I were in a position to invest in Prague -- as by starting a business there -- I definitely would. I think it has a very bright future now that its a NATO member. The people are clever and eager to embrace western ideas and culture. They also have a tradition of artistry and craftmanship, and are very organized. I even like the punctuation symbols, though I have no idea what they mean; but they look cool. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot about the Czech Republic in years to come.

    Second, Budapest is much larger than I anticipated, and definitely an imperial city. However, because its so big, with so many magnificent buildings and structures -- many, if not most of which have fallen into various states of disrepair -- it may take years for it to return to its former glory (Prague will definitely get there first).

    As noted before, the perfect analogy is of a once great neighborhood taken over by people who simply can't afford the upkeep; its not enough to live in a big house if you can't afford to keep it beautiful.

    To its credit, it still has a grand vision, and you can see and feel it in the buildings that are under renovation and the products of recent renovation -- the Four Seasons being a prime, indeed outstandind, example. They have many upscale restaurants and cafes, even on dingy streets. Overall, however, the place just has a heavy, dreary feel about. Nothing a quick jaunt to Vass won't cure, at least tempoarily.
    And you can always pair that with a side trip and lunchtime coctial at the Tabledancer.

    Believe it or not, Budapest calls itself the porn capital of the world. I kid you not. A newsstory in the local paper the day I arrived -- the same day I read about their Parliament having made it legal for 14 year olds to appear in porn films -- featured an interview with the contry's most successful, a 42 year-old who proudly declared Budapest the center of global porn. Who knew?

    Finally, Amsterdam. What can I say? It definitely has its fans, and a great history of art, commerce and libertarianism. Just doesn't work for me. Period.

    In my ranking of the places I've traveled, Amsterdam is probably on a level with Venice and London (neither of which did anything for me), all of which I rank below Vancouver, Montreal and Miami but above Cleveland and Philly.

    My favorite places are (in estimable descending order): Paris, Florence, New York, San Francisco, Rome, Prague, Buenos Aires, Rio, Chicago, Jamaica, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, D.C., Vancouver, Montreal, Miami, London, Venice, Ixtapa, Amsterdam, Philly and Cleveland. (I've not yet been to Lima or Santiago, but they're on my short list, alongf with Vietnam and Thailand).

    My favorite place to live, however, shall always be LA! Safe travels!
     
  16. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    Although I only stepped in today. I enjoyed reading about your revelations in Prague and Budapest.

    Besides, I wondered that nobody pointed out, that not Budapest but Vienna has been the capital of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy.[​IMG]

    I have been to both(Prague & Budapest) places several years ago and lived in Vienna for several years, I made similar experiences. Of course, due to the fact, am born, raised and living in their neighbourhood, "we" have a different view of some issues.

    Czech Republic is the work bench of Europe. Most of the economy is dominated by Western European companies. "Nobody" in Europe believes, that they can suceed upon their own efforts. Time will show us in the future.

    Hungary is quite a different story. Too complex to discuss on a travel log.

    As it seems you tend to return to these spots one day. Don't miss Restaurant Gundel, when you are in Budapest. www.gundel.hu
    The guy you meet at the tango place, was named Lajos, btw. [​IMG]

    Seen sartorial:

    The Czechs and Slovaks are the tailors of the K.u.K heritage.
    Vienna and Budapest became capitals of shoemaking, during this period.
     
  17. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Thanks fritzl for the clarification. From what I saw, and what I have been led to believe, I surmise that the Austrians were/are a bit more refined than the Hungarians. I'll have to visit there one day, particularly Vienna and Salzburg -- both of which have always been portrayed as beautiful places.
     
  18. eg1

    eg1 Senior member

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    The restaurant you mentioned is named for the eponymous everyman soldier of Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Svejk (spelled Schweik in some English translations).

    Well worth reading.
     
  19. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    You seem to have had a great time.

    A bit OT, but one of the best things about being able to dance something like tango or salsa is that you can go to pretty much any city in the world and meet interesting people. Learning salsa - and I still have a lot to learn - is one of the best decisions i've ever made.
     
  20. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    You seem to have had a great time.

    A bit OT, but one of the best things about being able to dance something like tango or salsa is that you can go to pretty much any city in the world and meet interesting people. Learning salsa - and I still have a lot to learn - is one of the best decisions i've every made.


    Good for you; stick with it because you're exactly right -- dance is a language unto itself and can give you immediate entree into a foreign culture because of that common bond. And yes, I had a wonderful time!
     

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